Jose Alcantara was a few days shy of his 40th birthday when he was killed. The son of tenant farmers, he worked hard in doing odd jobs as a young boy in Payo, Catanduanes, where he was born. In search for greener pastures, the Alcantaras moved to Naga where Jose found work in a bakery, married a coworker, and moved to Daet.
Elmer Lagarteja was born in Basud, Camarines Norte. His father was a farmer renting a piece of land from a landowner, and his mother a dressmaker and hairstylist. Elmer earned a few units at a local college in Daet. He left the college when his parents separated, and found work at a clothes factory in Angono, Rizal, to help his mother rear his four younger siblings.
Three fearless labor leaders, four massacre victims, one Augustinian nun and four other activists were among those honored at Bantayog ng mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes) in Quezon City this week.
This year’s honorees were labor leaders Felixberto Olalia Sr., Rolando Olalia and Crispin Beltran; human rights worker Sr. Violeta Marcos; “Daet martyrs” Elmer Lagarteja, Jose E. Alcantara (killed at 40), Benjamen Suyat (killed at 47) and Rogelio Guevarra (killed at 45); Jorge Checa, Ceasar Gavanzo Jr., Venerando Villacillo and Julieto Mahinay.